Every year, the charity dedicated to supporting and helping people with back pain, BackCare, dedicates a week to highlighting a specific area of back pain. For 2019, the focus is on back pain in golfers.
There is a distinct lack of awareness regarding the prevention of back related injuries among golfers which hinder their play and performance in the sport.
Golf is a leisure sport enjoyed by more than 60 million people of all ages across the world and has reached the 4 million mark in the UK alone. It has many health and well-being benefits. It is widely known that a typical 18-hole-round amounts to 6-8 km of walking requiring 8000 to 12000 steps and a significant calorie burn.
You might be surprised to hear that more injuries occur in golf than in rugby! Golf with other leisure sports have an injury rate of 1.8 per thousand persons per year as opposed to 1.5 per thousand persons per year in rugby and other team sports according to the National Centre for Health Statistics.
What are the most common golfing injuries?
Low back injuries are the most common complaint from golfers. They account for 15.2% to 34% of all golf injuries, followed by injuries to the elbow (7% to 27%), shoulder (4% to 19%) and wrist 10%. Golf is a repetitive sport – With an average of 300 swings per golf-playing-day. So the type of injuries a golfer often picks up are overuse injuries.
How common are golf injuries?
Between 15.8% to 40.9% of amateur golfers report an injury (or injuries) every year; among professionals, the incidence ranges between 31% to 90% annually.
How does the swing affect the back?
Back problems are mainly attributed to how the golf swing of present-day professionals, such as Tiger Woods (the ‘modern swing’/‘the X-factor swing’) differs from that of golf legends like Jack Nicklaus (‘classic swing’). The modern swing is more powerful and exerts a greater compressive force toward the anatomy of the spine, which can be a contributory factor in back issues.
‘A long swing with passive wrists and light grip pressure can prevent back issues’ – US Golfer Phil Mickelson. At 45, Mickelson has played without any of the serious back pain unlike most of the major champions like Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. Back injuries have sidelined the careers of former champions Tiger Woods and Fred Couples several times!
Want to know more about preventing back pain in golf, here’s a great little fact sheet ‘Swing Clever‘ that highlights the different factors associated with the classic and modern swing.
If back pain or any other injury is stopping you from enjoying your golf, then do get in touch. Our team can help!
It was very refreshing to finally see some positive, mainstream media coverage about back pain on ITV last night.
For so long now, there has been much scaremongering, misinformation and fear surrounding the best way to manage back pain and unfortunately this has become ingrained in people’s minds. Professionals like ourselves, who see people with back pain day in day out, have been battling to dispel the myths surrounding back pain for so long. So, maybe the message is finally getting through!
So, what were the key messages that the programme promoted?
Surgery is often not the answer. For the vast majority of people it’s about rehab getting active and getting fit. Less than 1% of people with back pain might be considered for surgery.
1 in 5 people who have an X-ray or scan for back pain do so unnecessarily. Having a scan when you don’t need it may actually make things worse, as normal signs of ageing can be misinterpreted. An MRI scan is not always needed to find out what’s going on, it’s not a picture of pain, it’s a picture of normal ageing changes.
It’s not easy to uncover what causes back pain.
There isn’t a quick fix solution.
Painkillers and rest are no longer recommended treatments for back pain.
Our progressive lack of movement and activity are a key factor in our back pain epidemic.
Spines LOVE movement!
We need to incorporate movement throughout the day into our lives, NOT just in intensive bursts of exercise like going to the gym, for a run or an exercise class.
The back is a strong and robust structure, we need to trust it and not be afraid of pain.
Sedentary lifestyles must be tackled in childhood to create her;thy lifelong habits and help prevent back pain. Keeping fit and healthy at an early age might be a way of future proofing our backs.
Some Back Pain Facts:
There are almost 10 million people in the UK suffering with lower back pain
It’s one of there most common reasons for days taken off work
Back pain accounts for over 30 million lost working days a year
Back pain affects up to 80% of us
You can watch ITV’s Tonight – Back Pain: Britain’s Unseen Crisis here until the end of March 2019.
There’s no denying it, we’re sitting more and moving less and this is causing havoc on our health and wellbeing.
Things have to change, attitudes have to change, understanding has to change, workplace cultures have to change and lifestyles have to change.
That’s why, since it started, we’ve promoted and supported On Your Feet Britain and their #SitLess #Move More campaign.
Take a look and see whether you can get your workplace involved?
Awareness of the “Sitting Disease” has rocket up in recent years. Surely it’s time your workplace joined in our fun event to take James Brown at his word.
Join 2 million office workers #SitLess and #MoveMore by signing up your workplace to a free event and see a different aspect of your colleagues. Find out who is The Wiggler, The Wag- gler, The Mover or The Groover.
On 26th April 2019 we’re challenging the nation again to get On Your Feet. Take part in our fifth national day when 2 million workers across Britain will sit less & move more.
Instead of emailing the person oppo- site, do something revolutionary – walk over & talk face to face. It’s a good way to do business & it’ll do you good.
Ditch your usual lunch ‘al desko’ and take a stroll outside. You’ll get a spring in your step and feel better for it.
Make phone calls standing up. You’ll feel more confident and burn more calories than sitting.
Why not take it on as an office chal- lange & free yourself from the office chair for the day. Find fun & easy ideas online to take part.
The Pelvic Partnership has just launched a new campaign, the ‘Stickmum’ campaign, to raise awareness of pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP).
What is PGP?
a condition which affects 1 in 5 pregnant women
pain and stiffness in the pelvic joints
asymmetry of movement, joint irritation and pain when walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed
in some cases, long-term pain and dysfunction after giving birth which can persist for months or years without treatment
Can PGP be treated?
In short, yes! But treatments can often be poorly understood, with many people thinking that pelvic pain is just a ‘normal’ and acceptable part of pregnancy.
PGP can be treated with manual therapy
If you’re suffering with PGP you don’t even need a referral. You can just give us a call and book an appointment for an assessment and treatment of the pelvic joints and soft tissues by our specialist pelvic Physiotherapist, Kim.
Pain and function should improve after each treatment session
When can PGP be treated?
Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to full resolution or reduction in symptoms during pregnancy, so try and get help ASAP if you think you are staring to feel PGP
It is safe to treat at any stage during or after pregnancy, even if there is very severe pain
If you think you’re suffering with PGP, please call 023 8025 3317 to book an appointment with our specialist Physiotherapist, Kim. We aim to be able to offer you an appointment within 24 – 48 hours.
Download some really useful information about the PGP and the benefits of treatment here.
Musculoskeletal conditions: the elephant in the room?
Conditions of the bones, joints and muscles are a big problem in the UK; with over 17 million people living with a musculoskeletal condition, more people suffer with disability from musculoskeletal conditions than anything else.
Good health of bones, joints and muscles underpins living life well. Musculoskeletal conditions affect nearly everyone at some point in their life. They can cause pain, fatigue, restricted mobility and activities of daily living. They impact people’s lives, their work and even people’s other health conditions. Conditions of the bones, joints and muscles represent a significant cost to the individual, the economy and health and social care.
Acknowledging the problem
Everyone knows conditions like arthritis and back pain are common. But they are often misunderstood and ignored, like the figurative elephant in the room. The solution begins in acknowledging the problem. That’s why we need to shift our mindset and start planning and acting nationally, locally and individually for healthy bones, joints and muscles throughout life.
If we’re brave enough to tackle this big and growing problem, to champion lifelong good musculoskeletal health, there are large rewards! We see it day in day out here at goPhysio – poor MSK health has a huge impact on quality of life. If you invest in your MSK health, like in other areas of your health and wellbeing, you can get more out of life!
Why are MSK conditions the elephant in the room?
From our years of experience, there are many factors!
Firstly, MSK conditions often occur gradually or creep up on you. It starts as a niggle or minor ache or pain, that you accept as part of life. You manage it yourself or make small adjustments in your life to compensate. Over time, your pain, stiffness and limited mobility gets worse, but the impact on your life has been so gradual, you don’t really notice until the effects are huge. Suddenly you’re not walking so far, aren’t exercising, avoiding certain activities and you take a look and are shocked what affect it’s had on you.
MSK conditions aren’t immediately life threatening. Let’s face it, no matter how painful the condition is, there is nothing immediately at stake aside from quality of life. Subsequently, they aren’t always a high priority. However, this view is very short sighted – because over time, the impact of long standing MSK conditions can have a huge impact. Being less active and living with a painful MSK condition can cause many other issues as there will be knock on effects with mental health, cardiovascular health, maintaining a healthy weight and all the complexities that come with health.
Culturally, we’ve been lead to believe the ‘wait and see’ approach is OK! How many times have you heard ‘rest’, ‘take painkillers’ ‘it’ll get better in time’? Funding cuts in the NHS has bread this culture! The truth is, if people had the support, education and correct personalised, professional advice from the early onset of an MSK condition, the issues could be reduced massively.
Preventing MSK conditions and the solutions aren’t easy! Everyone now wants the easy option, the quick fix! But preventing and addressing MSK conditions need investment in time and effort. If you could take a magic pill that would solve it – great. But tackling these conditions takes time, there often isn’t a miracle miracle cure. e.g. If you have back pain, there is overwhelming evidence that exercise is the best management. But what do most G.P.s do if you go and see them with back pain? They’ll often advise painkillers and rest as the first step. Take osteoarthritis of the knee. Again, exercise is a highly effective treatment for this condition. But shockingly, many people would rather have a risky operation with no guarantee of a positive outcome than commit time and effort to doing regular, prescribed, specific exercises that would help them.
This week is officially Bone and Joint Week. Hopefully, getting the message out there will help filter out awareness of these conditions, the impact they have on so many people.
If you’re visiting this page, it’s because you or a loved one is suffering with back pain. Well rest assured, you’re not alone!
At goPhysio, we understand if you’ve got back pain or stiffness – it’s tempting to think that it’s nothing, that it will go away on it’s own. Yet we moan about it, we tell people about it, we struggle to walk upright, we can’t sleep, it stops us doing doing the things we enjoy like golf, gardening or walking – but for some reason we just put up with it. Often hoping it will miraculously disappear by the morning.
If that’s happening to you, you’re not alone. We hear this type of thing all the time. In fact, lower back pain and sciatica is THE most common problem we solve at our Physiotherapy Clinic in Chandlers Ford; getting people just like you back to the activities you enjoy, pain and injury free.
5 Reason’s Why Your Back Pain Could Be Lasting Longer Than You Expect
You’re confused about what do. You’re unsure of what to do or who to see about your back pain? That’s quite common in the early stages, as you’re getting conflicting advice from your friends, family and possibly your GP.
You’re hoping it will get better itself. This is often wishful thinking, fingers crossed you’ll wake up fre of pain in the morning! (Sound familiar?). Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. If your back pain has lasted for any longer than a few weeks or has recurred a few times, it’s an indication that you need some help to get to the bottom of it.
You’ve been ‘resting’ for too long. Resting too much and for too long is detrimental to recovery. When you rest, your muscles will get tighter and weaker and your joints will get stiffer. This will be most noticeable to you when you try to return to the activities you enjoy. You get ‘straight back to normal’ after a period of rest, and more often than not, this is when your back pain returns and the cycle continues.
You’re doing generic exercises from ‘Dr Google’ The internet is a great source of free information. However, it’s obvioulsy very generalised. The exercises you may try are not specific for your back problem or for your personal lifestyle. In the real world, this isn’t the most effective way to quickly ease your back pain and get back to doing the hobbies and activities you enjoy!
You’re tackling the symptoms but not the cause. Doing this is like using a sticky plaster. Seeking ways to just relieve your pain or tightness in the short term, like having a massage, hoping it would fix your long term, recurent problem, isn’t the solution. You need to get right to the bottom of the issue and do something about it. There are often a number of issues that have combined to cause your back pain. If they’re not addressed you risk entering that lifelong cycle of pain.
So, if any of that sounds familiar, it’s not a bad thing, in some ways it’s a good thing………
Firstly, it tells us what doesn’t work, so we don’t have to waste anymore time. Secondly, it tells us how much closer you are to finding a solution to your back pain and making a decision about permanently fixing it!
At goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, we help you recover from back pain and get back to the activities you enjoy, pain and injury free
What You Can Do To Start Your Recovery From Back Pain Now
Make a decision to get help. Hopefully, with this information and your free back pain guide, you’re beginning to understand more about your back pain and are closer to making the right decision and returning to the activities you enjoy. Just consider other situations when you’re not confused with your decision about what you need to do………
When your hair is too long, you go to the hairdresser’s and get it cut.
When you have toothache, you’d see the dentist.
When your cat’s ill, you’d call the vet.
If your car broke down, you’d visit the garage…………..So, when you have back pain, you should see a back pain expert to guide you quickly out of pain and disability, returning to the activities you enjoy!
Actually get the right help. Once you’ve decided to get help, don’t delay! Avoid putting up any unnecessary barrier’s to your recovery! Seek out a back pain expert and get some real, expert advice, specific to your injury. You need them to devise a treatment plan aimed at getting back to the activities you enjoy! This may include some ‘hands on’ treatment to help relieve your pain and other symptoms initially, so that you can get mobile and active again in comfort, quickly. Physiotherapists are the first choice for professional sportsman and women the world over, we can also be the best first choice for you!
Do the right exercises’s. Long term, most exercise is great for helping relieve and prevent recurrent back pain. But in the short term, in the early stages, it’s crucial to do the correct exercises, specific to your back pain injury. Being under professional guidance will ensure you receive the right treatment at the right time, speeding your recovery and quickly returning you to the activities you enjoy!
Avoid rest and inactivity. Total rest is never a good idea, it will only delay your recovery, prolonging your injury. Instead, at goPhysio we use the term ‘selective rest’, which means to rest only from the aggravating (pain causing) activities. This is a crucial first step to a speedy recovery! So make sure you’re getting up and moving about as much as you can.
How Deciding To See Us At goPhysio Can Help You
How can choosing to see a Physiotherapist at goPhysio help you get rid of your back pain in the next few days?
Here’s just a few of the things we can do for you to ease your back pain in the next few days………
Hassle free access to expert Physiotherapists No waiting list’s, convenient early and late appointments, free parking, no referral needed from your GP – you can book by just giving us a call.
Same day appointments We’ll offer you an appointment within 24hrs of you getting in touch, often on the same day. Once you’ve made the decision to see us, we’ll ensure there are no barrier’s to your recovery.
We can quickly ease your pain and stiffness We can help you find out what’s really going on, and get to the root cause of your back pain once and for all. We know that you want to have some relief from your pain, so will use a range of techniques to make sure we help with this.
We’ll help you get a good nights sleep Trouble sleepin often goes hand in hand with back pain. If you’re having trouble sleeping, we’ll teach you how to position yourself comfortably in bed, to help you sleep much better.
We’ll teach you how to help yourself. It’s all well and good use helping you during your appointments, but its crucial that you are doing everytjing you can do to help yourself the rest of the time. We’ll teach you the best postures, position’s and exercises to ease your pain and stiffness in-between sessions.
Get to the root of YOUR problem We make sure we spend time finding out exactly what’s causing your back pain. We lsiten to your story, what you love to do (and want to get back to). You’ll leave your first session with a bespoke, written personal recovery plan, outlining your treatment program and expected timescales, helping to reassure you with the right information, that’s relevent to you.
We’ll show you how to keep active We’ll make sure from your first to last visit, you clearly understand what you should and shouldn’t be doing, returning you back to more and more activities as you improve, ensuring you stay as active and mobile possible throughout your recovery to the activities you enjoy.
We’re totally focused on you Our care is focused on solving the injury problems and concerns of importance to you, ensuring you achieve your goals, returning to the activities you enjoy!
How Pilates at goPhysio has helped me, by Jill G
Hopefully we’ve answerd some of your questions and concerns and addressed the worries you may be having about your back pain.
If you have read the information above and think that seeing a Physiotherapist is the best step to take to help you recover from your back pain and our team at goPhysio are the ones to help you, you can book an appointment.
If you want to know more, you can request a FREE special injury report here.
There are a few options if you’d like to book an appointment:
Call our friendly, helpful Patient Services Team on 023 8025 3317 (we’re open from 8am – 8pm Mon – Thurs, 8am – 6pm Friday & 8am – 12pm Saturday)
Book an appointment safely and securely online here 24/7
Pop in to see us if you’re in the Chandlers Ford area
If you’re still not sure whether we can help, we’re more than happy to arrange a free telephone consultation. Just drop us an email to email@example.com to request this and we’ll be in touch.
Don’t forget to request the free special injury report 8 quick, easy ways to live a healthy, active, positive life, free from back pain here, for more advice and information about back pain.Request my free special injury report.
This week is the annual Back Care Awareness week, a week brought to us by the BackCareorganisation to highlight and open discussions on back pain.
This year, the theme is back pain in older adults.
Back pain is one of the major disabling health conditions among older adults aged 60 years and older. Many causes of lower back pain are age-related with physical and psychosocial changes. There is a distinct lack of awareness, especially in older adults to the causes and effects of back pain and pain management.
Existing evidence suggests that prevalence rates of severe and chronic low back pain increase with older age. As compared to working-age adults, older adults are more likely to develop lower back pain like osteoporotic vertebral fractures, tumors, spinal infection, and lumbar spinal stenosis. NCBI (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
There are many pro-active ways to both help prevent you developing back pain or tackling back pain if you do start to experience it. Here are 3 of our top tips to help you be back care aware!
Live actively – leading an active life is one of the key ways to help make sure you minimise your risk of developing back pain. If you do develop back pain, keeping moving and active will help give you the best chance of a speedy recovery.
Don’t be afraid of using your back – despite all the messages you may hear “Don’t bend like that, you’ll hurt your back!”, “Be careful of your back!”, “Don’t life that, it’s too heavy and dangerous for your back!” – your back is an extremely strong part of your body, designed to move and support you.
Pain doesn’t always mean harm – it can be very scary experiencing back pain, but the pain you feel doesn’t always mean that you are doing harm or that there is anything serious going on. A serious underlying condition causing pain in your back is very rare. Obviously, if you are worried, seek professional advice to put your mind at ease. But back pain is often nothing to worry about and can be overcome quickly and effectively by doing the right things.
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Channel 4’s Live Well For Longer programme on Channel 4 this week looked at one of the most common injuries we see and British people experience – Back Pain.
Back pain is thought to cause 30 million days of sick leave a year, costing our economy an estimated £40 billion. It is thought that up to 80% of us will suffer with back pain at some point in our lives.
The programme compared 3 ‘non-medical’ ways to manage long standing back pain; yoga, physiotherapy and osteopathy. They used a well known, standardised tool to measure levels of pain before and after 2 months of each of the interventions in groups of people who had been suffering with back pain for over a year.
In the Physiotherapy group, the physiotherapist helped to facilitate the return of normal movement and worked on strengthening the spine. It was great to see that the ethos of the physiotherapist is teaching people and giving people information and knowledge that they need to help themselves. This is absolutely fundamental in successful treatment of painful conditions such as back pain.
After 2 months, it was found that Yoga and physiotherapy both helped improve people’s pain by 30-50%. Osteopathy reduced pain by a third on average. All 3 groups of people experienced a decrease in their back pain, demonstrating that with time, investment and commitment, there can be huge improvements in pain. The programme obviously only looked at very small sample sizes, but what it demonstrated that there is a positive way to tackle back pain.
The ket message to take away for people with long term back pain, is that you can’t expect short term fixes. People looking for help with back pain need to be realistic – if you’ve had back pain for a long time, there isn’t a quick and easy fix (that so many people seek!). As the Physiotherapist said, retraining muscles can take at least 6 weeks. It’s the dedication, positive attitude and consistency in investing in your body and finding something that works for you that will often be the success!
UK businesses are failing health needs of their office-based staff – Workers appeal to bosses to take action that will help them lead healthier working lives.
The vast majority of office-based workers are aware of the health dangers of spending hours on end seated at their desks, but management is failing to respond to their needs, according to a survey to mark On Your Feet Britain day on Friday April 28.
Less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue.
In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.
On Your Feet Britain, now in its third year, is a free event run by the Get Britain Standing campaign in association with Active Working, a community interest company. More than 2,500 businesses have signed up to On Your Feet Britain, encouraging millions of staff members to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities in their workplace to allow them to #sitless and #movemore.
Growing scientific evidence indicates that sitting for more than four hours each day (however active a person you are outside the workplace) leads to multiple health risks (including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and mental health problems).
More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, of 250 business organisations across the UK, wanted to see clear leadership, encouragement and better education on active working solutions, 38% believed a complete culture change was necessary, and 34% wanted access to adjustable desks.
Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.
Almost 60% of co-workers questioned said they spend six or more hours a day seated during a typical office day and almost 90% spend upwards of five hours a day sitting down.
This despite more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.
Almost a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour but not bothered or were simply unaware of the issue. Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.
In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.
The average UK office worker sits 10 hours each day, with almost 70% of sitting taking place at work and 73 % only leaving their desk for toilet or tea breaks. Studies indicate that ongoing inactive behaviour is a risk for ALL employees, however fit and active they are outside the workplace.
“Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens” says Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working. “On Your Feet Day is the perfect way to start experiencing the wellness and productivity benefits of sitting less and moving more. We are thrilled to see so many companies getting involved and engaged. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of breaking up and reducing sitting time.”
On Your Feet Britain is a day when workers are encouraged to give their health a boost, converting sitting time to standing time by taking some simple actions. For example:
Stand during phone calls
Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
Use the stairs rather than the lift
Have standing or walking meetings
Eat your lunch away from your desk
Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing them
Stand at the back of the room during presentations
If you’d like to get involved in On Your Feet Britain on 28th April, register here!
The annual Back Care Awareness Week, run by BackCare, the UK’s leading charity for those impacted by back or neck pain, is to take place between 2 and 6 October. The theme this year is Back Pain in Education.
Back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country. It costs the UK economy around £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as a result of the condition. Furthermore, about 80% of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.
BackCare decided it was important to run a campaign targeted at children and young people as many of the back and neck pain problems experienced by adults are due to them not looking after their backs during childhood and teenage years.
Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said: “Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults.”
He added: “There are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly. They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”
Why we somewhat disagree with this years message!
However, leading Physiotherapists and the latest research will tend to disagree with some of the points raised in this campaign. Although we agree that education and empowering people with understanding and knowledge of taking care of their bodies from a young age is crucial, implying that they can damage their spines by doing normal, everyday tasks like carrying a school bag, is a myth. These messages can lead to an unnecessary fear, which can then progress into adulthood.
Research is suggesting that there isn’t a ‘perfect posture’ or ‘best way to carry a bag’. So implying that young children can ‘harm’ their back or neck in these ways isn’t a positive message to put across.
This image sums up perfectly how children should be caring for their backs – not focusing on correct postures or harmful habits – moving regularly!
So what messages should we be sharing?
Exercise and movement is the key – youngsters should be encouraged and supported to take part in a wide variety of exercise, sport and activities that encourage regular, whole body movement that they enjoy! It doesn’t really matter what it is, but enjoyment and instilling a lifelong, love of being active is the best way to prevent developing any back problems.
Move regularly – our bodies aren’t designed to be still. It’s not the posture that’s the problem, but staying in single positions for too long that can lead to issues. So, when you read about issues such as ‘text neck’, it tends to be the duration that people are using their devices in, in a single, sustained position that can cause issues. If you held a so called ‘perfect posture’ for any sustained length of time, this could cause issues!
Don’t be afraid of pain – aches and pains can be a normal everyday occurrence. We can all feel a bit of stiffness, aching, muscle soreness etc. But pain doesn’t always equal damage. Particularly with back pain, being afraid of the pain tends to lead to us being overly protective, not moving as much, which in turn can cause more pain. It’s a vicious circle. As long as there are no indications to be concerned that something more serious is going on to cause the pain (trauma, pins & needles or numbness, problems going to the toilet, pain at night for example – if any of these are present, it’s advised to see your GP ASAP), then we need to install the confidence that the pain is OK.
Be careful with the language we use – particularly with children, the words we use if they’re in pain can be very influential. Negative words like harm, damage, out of place, torn, can all create very negative messages. We need to focus on positive messages like strong and active. Being overly focused on carrying things correctly at a young age, will install a fear that their backs aren’t designed to cope with such a normal, everyday, task – which ins’t true.
There are obviously times and instances when children do develop back or neck pain. This can be caused by sustained postures (often technology related) and a lack of exercise of general movement. In these cases, specific education and increasing their awareness is a key part of helping them overcome any pain they are experiencing. Postural education may be a part of this.
It’s great that BackCare are are raising awareness of back issues in this campaign, but let’s keep the messages positive and not install a fear into young people that their backs might not be fit for the job!